1 December 2016
This week on Knidos Cookery Club we’re looking to Central Asia for inspiration in the form of the noodle, which, Marco Polo legends aside, is thought by some to have originated in this part of the world.
While the question of who first came up with the idea of combining wheat flour, water, egg and salt to make pasta is still being debated, one thing is certain – the dish (most likely) came from somewhere in Asia!
The noodle probably came into Turkey with the nomadic tribes who swept across the Eurasian steppe, located between China and Eastern Europe, in the wake the Mongol invasions of Anatolia from the 13th century onwards. Pasta dishes in Turkey include manti, small meat-filled dumplings and erişte, thin strips of pasta dressed with cream and walnuts or added to soups and stews to add body.
Another name for erişte is kesme – this caused some confusion when researching this article as kesme can be a negative (do not cut) or the ‘-me‘ ending can turn the word into a noun – in this case it’s the latter as the name refers to a large sheet of pasta cut into strips. Erişte, by the way, is from the Persian reshteh, which means string or thread.
We’ve decided to stick with the Persian vibe – a popular dish in Iran is ash reshteh, a vegetable and noodle soup, and make a version of this hearty soup cum stew with chickpeas, pumpkin, tomato and noodle strips.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
For the noodles:
If you have time and want to make your own noodles, follow this link, otherwise use about 100 g of shop-bought dried egg noodles, broken up into 2 cm strips.
For the stew:
100 g egg noodles, broken into 2 cm strips
400 g pumpkin
200g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked for an hour or so until tender but not mushy
25 ml olive oil
one medium-sized onion
three medium-sized tomatoes
500 ml vegetable stock or reserved cooking water form the chick peas
one clove of garlic
one teaspoon coriander seeds
one teaspoon red chili flakes
one teaspoon cumin seeds
salt and black pepper to taste
dollop of sour cream
Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm chunks and roast in a baking dish in an oven pre-heated to 220 c /gas mark 7 for 30 minutes or so. If you have any seeds from the pumpkin, place these on tin foil and roast alongside the pumpkin until turning brown.
Chop up the onion and fry in the olive oil in a heavy-based pan with the garlic and spices on a medium heat until beginning to brown. Turn down the heat, add the chopped up tomatoes and stir.
Cook for five minutes and then add the chick peas and 200 ml of the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes. Add the roasted pumpkin and the rest of the stock and bring to the boil again. Add the broken-up noodles and cook for five minutes until the noodle pieces are cooked.
Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and sprinkle some roasted pumpkin seeds over the top.
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